The eucaryotic cell cycle is regulated by the periodic synthesis and destruction of cyclins that associate with and activate cyclin-dependent kinases. Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, such as p21 and p16, also play important roles in cell cycle control by coordinating internal and external signals and impeding proliferation at several key checkpoints. Understanding how these proteins interact to regulate the cell cycle has become increasingly important to researchers and clinicians with the discovery that many of the genes that encode cell cycle regulatory activities are targets for alterations that underlie the development of cancer. Several therapeutic agents, such as DNA-damaging drugs, microtubule inhibitors, antimetabolites, and topoisomerase inhibitors, take advantage of this disruption in normal cell cycle regulation to target checkpoint controls and ultimately induce growth arrest or apoptosis of neoplastic cells. Other therapeutic drugs being developed, such as UCN-01, specifically inhibit cell cycle regulatory proteins.